The show is a wrap. 4000 JLPS Bibles are completely gone. Check out the video below. Thanks to all who helped through giving of their prayers and support for the show in LA this year. There are so many stories to tell.
I was really grateful to be a part of what xxxchurch is doing at these porn
shows. It was so fun to pass out bibles to people walking by or to hand them
a card inviting them to our church. There were many people that smiled
and/or looked surprised when they read the cover of the bible. Some had some
questions and were glad to hear our message God’s love is extended to
Even though some people didn’t want to take a bible. I know though that
everyone that passed by the xxxchurch booth that weekend had a positive
encounter with God. And we may never know the impact of the seeds that were
planted but I believe that God will cause his message of love to grow in
those people’s hearts somewhere down the road.
One thing that stood out for me was the men. (This caught me off guard
because I was intentionally focusing on the women.) I was amazed at the flow
of men lurking around going from booth to booth. I’m sure I had some
judgment for them at first but the more I watched them, the more I just felt
deeply sad for them. They seemed under confident, lost and broken as they
crowded around the pole dancers to get a glimpse or to take a photo with
there cell phones or video cameras. I wanted to reach out to them even more
and said a few prayers for them in my head as they passed by.
I sat on the plane heading back east after a great weekend in LA… bummed. My seat and tray table in the upright position, I was very aware of the fact that I was coming down off the buzz of the Erotic LA outreach. All the Bibles distributed, the awesome Oasis team we got to work with, the great conversations were all still fresh in my mind as the attendant droned on about securing my oxygen mask in the event of an emergency. I didn’t want to leave. I told Craig Sunday morning on our way to speak at the church that it was surprisingly hard to pull myself away from the show and now as the plane taxied down the runway, I was feeling the reality of heading home. Back to normal. Back to the mundane.
One of the guys with us at the show said he had talked to more people about Jesus in a few hours than he had in a few years, and as I considered it now, so had I. It’s amazingly easy. People are receptive. Conversations are usually sincere. But then, that’s why we’re there. That’s why we traveled here, shipped cartons of Bibles, registered, paid our entrance, and stood in a 10×10 booth for three days. We purposed to tell people that Jesus loves Porn Stars. We knew we were going to do it when or feet hit the floor first thing that morning. We were looking for opportunities to express that love and seizing them when we had the chance. And there were plenty of chances.
As I watched the beverage cart inch closer to my row, I contemplated what it would take for me to change the few hours:few years ratio. I recognized that the buzz wasn’t the show, it was the obedience to Christ’s call to be His arm and legs. And mouth. And that the porn show had to follow me home. Take a porn show to work. Carry the porn show to school. Walk the porn show over to my neighbor’s. I can have that experience every day by doing the same things we did this weekend… being purposeful and going for it.
I handed a Diet Coke to the woman in the window seat. “Heading home from a business trip, are you?” she asked. “No, I work with a ministry and we were here doing an outreach.”
“Really. What kind of outreach?” Here we go. Porn show on the plane.
In my mind I reached out to hand her a ‘Jesus loves MidWest Housewives’ Bible
What was it like? That was a question I had asked many years to Craig and others on the team as they returned from previous porn shows. In my mind I imagined a struggle beyond what I ever experienced before with women barely dressed if dressed at all walking in front of me and the onslaught of temptation that would certainly follow. What was strange for me as I experienced the porn show for myself was the absolute lack of temptation I experienced. Instead I was overcome with sadness and compassion for these people. They are people. They are no less loved by God than I am and no greater a sinner than me; they are simply deceived by a world that offers the dreams of success, fame, money, status, and acceptance; it is a lie.
In the midst of the porn show I recognized an unlikely character, GOD. Everywhere I looked was the voice of God speaking into the ears of people. I could feel God’s presence as I spoke to people about why we had come and the message we were sharing. Numerous people expressed the echo of God’s voice through various statements, “my mom’s a minister,” “I grew up in a Christian home,” “I am so far in the flesh that I know God would not take me back,” “sometimes I think that Jesus speaks to me.” These are only a few of the numerous statements people made as they were reminded of a God that loved them in the midst of their depravity.
One porn producer sticks out to me the most and I cannot seem to remove him from my thinking. He owns a rather large porn company and came to speak with me the very first night we were there. He approached me laughing and asking what we were really all about. He had noticed the large Jesus Loves Porn Stars display and the stack of thousands of Bibles we were prepared to hand out. His booth was just to our left and was set up like an office. Attached to the walls of the display were plasma tv’s playing porn with large speakers amplifying the groans across the exhibit floor. This was a little difficult at times to handle. This man immediately shared with me that he had grew up in a religious home and his mom was in fact a minister. He said he got into porn one day with his fraternity brothers never expected it to take off and grow as large as it has. He was happy, pleasant, and likeable man. As he walked back to his booth and as I interacted with him throughout the weekend I couldn’t help but believe God was speaking into the ears of this man. He may be avoiding and ignoring his voice but I believe there will be a time when God pulls him out of the midst of this life and into the life he was intended to live. This man is merely another Donny Pauling who could only resist the echoes of God’s voice for so long. It is my prayer that God will allow for xxxchurch to point yet another successful porn producer to the light.
Thanks xxxchurch for what you do and your commitment to take the light into the darkness. The darkness you venture into is merely an extension of the ordinary life we all live. These are truly real people who look like the everyday ordinary people of our world—all of which are searching for meaning and purpose. It was an honor to bring Jesus into this environment.
Hey Craig – some of my thoughts from Erotica LA:
While Erotica L.A. is the porn industry’s attempt to showcase its glamorous side, I came face-to-face with its underbelly. I had to avert my gaze away from the videos that played around us – not because they were so alluring – but because they were so disgusting. Much like the addict it produces, the porn industry seems unable to stop its slide into darker, seedier and more degrading forms of human behavior. My heart broke seeing the strippers in the booth next to us displaying their “assets” for the strangers who passed by. It was truly saddening. Everything inside me wished I could do more to show them the Father’s love. Referring to ministry, the apostle Paul wrote that one person plants the seed, another person waters it but God is the One who makes it grow (1 Cor 3). I walked away from many people praying “God, I know You love these people. Take these little seeds we plant and water this weekend and make them grow.”
Most people were so surprised to be handed a Bible at a porn convention. “Befuddlement” isn’t a word we use alot but it was written on so many faces. “Jesus loves porn stars?! A Bible?! Jesus loves ME?! It doesn’t make sense.” Come to think of it, they’re right. God’s love doesn’t make sense. It’s bigger and and farther reaching and more enduring than any of us can fathom. I think God really uses XXXChurch to surprise people and get their attention at these shows. I saw it up close so many times.
I’ll never forget my encounter with Stymie. His name has been a prayer on my lips all weekend. In his own words, we ruined his porn weekend in the best possible way! He walked away from God 18 months ago and feels totally disqualified and (before this weekend) beyond God’s reach. The idea that God wanted him back and planted us two booths away from his to drive that point home was almost more than he could take in. I wrote this scripture inside the Bible we gave him – “For even if the mountains are shaken and the hills are removed, My unfailing love for you will not be shaken and My promise to bless you will never be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you (Is 54:10). I guess that’s the message we proclaimed this weekend through our presence, our smiles and our conversations – “No matter what you’ve done, no matter who gives up on you, God loves you and will never give up on you.”
The only sucky part of the convention was leaving. Even though my family moved the day before and I was totally exhausted, I couldn’t pry myself away. There were more people to talk to, more Bibles to hand out…thankfully, I’ll be in NJ this September and will get to join the X3 team at the NY convention. The team – that’s the last thing I’ll mention. What a remarkable and inspiring group of people! Craig, Brandon, Jake, Rachel, Rob – I’m so thankful for the X3 Team and their commitment to “keep showing up” and extend Christ’s love to those trapped in pornography and the sex industry. It was a privilege to serve alongside them and our Oasis volunteers this weekend! -jeff
You know, as we left the show last night I said to you, “I just wonder how much of a difference all this makes.” I felt kind of bad having said that since it came off as defeatist but upon reflection (and some sleep) I can now see that my observation was borne out of extreme, profound sorrow. The convention was far sadder than I could ever have imagined. It was far grittier and the people far more “rudderless” than one can dream. But in the end it was no different from any of the places that Jesus would have gladly walked right into, without ever once considering if it “made much of a difference.” Looking back, I can see that there were a number of people to whom I gave a Bible that looked at the cover of it and smiled. And the smiles weren’t casual but the deep, hopeful smiles you get when you know that there is something greater than you out there; Someone who loves you despite all of the junk we get wrapped up in. If it weren’t for you, xxx.church, and all of the wonderful volunteers at Erotica LA none of these hurting people would ever even contemplate, for one moment, that Jesus really does love them, right where they are. And for many of the women and men — both producers and users of pornography — this is their one and only opportunity to hear this.
Thanks for giving us all a chance, and a platform, to spread the Word of God to so many people who hunger so deeply for it. It’s awesome to feel a part of such an amazing team! -Steven
I wasn’t sure what to expect and as we drove up I was concerned I might feel anger towards the men, as I walked in that completely left me and I felt a deep sadness in my soul, these men are so lost, and they don’t have a clue That was my biggest realization…this sexual perversion probably started off so slowly and now it has escalated to this, and they don’t even get how damaging what they are doing is and how that addiction is never satisfied, it always wants more, they don’t even know what they are missing my heart cries
My job was to walk around and hand out little gift bags and bibles to the women.
It was so amazing to me how these women got so excited about lip gloss. When you looked into there eyes they sere so hungry for love, and I believe they felt the difference in the love we were sharing… Jesus love shining thru us I was surprised how many of them said they were Christians, as they screamed with delight at what we were doing My favorite thing was when one women asked …
which booth are you at and I siad xxx church she laughed a little and said “really which booth are you at” xxx church was my reply Is it a real church yes she just giggled and look at me with disbelief and said “wow, that is so cool” and I agreed, Yes it is very cool
she seemed so surprised at our non-judgmental approach and as I smiled at her I thought this is where Jesus would be if he were here today and I felt a deep sense of how important this little act of service was, and my heart cried out for these women, and there lack of self-worth I wanted to reach out and hug her so tight and tell her how valuable she really was.
Did she know she is the daughter of a KING? but instead I smiled at her and grabbed her hand and squeezed it tight, and I know she felt the love the experience was wonderful, and yes it was tuff for me a mother of two, to leave in the evening and be up late when I knew the net morning I would be up at 5 am with a happy little baby smiling at me
But was it worth it? It was worth more then I can ever explain to you I believe it was planting seeds and it filled me up as well How grateful I am that I know who I am in Christ what a gift, and i want to give that gift to these women so thank you Craig and xxxchurch, I appreciate that you have created a place for us to serve in this way. -tami
This was for me, the first time I had ever been to an event like that so I was a little bit nervous about how our “message” would be received. I anticipated people would instantly feel judged and be avoidant. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The people who stopped to ask questions truly blessed me and were an encouragement to my own faith. It was proof that no matter what people are struggling with in their own life, God is always gently pursuing them. Besides only a handful of people, almost everyone was receptive, grateful and even seemed relieved. Relieved to be treated and viewed as a good person despite the context. It was ironic – so many people came up to just say they thought it was great that we were there and that they supported what we were doing – including the distributors of the pornography videos! One man working at a booth promoting his pornography videos, gave me his card and said he donates regularly to ministries like ours. He was insistent we contact him so that he could support us financially. This man whose income is based on selling pornography wanted to give money to the ministry that tries to take his customers! If that isn’t “God working all things for good,” I don’t know what is!
As I was handing out bibles I “ran into” people from my workplace and several people who said they had attended my church before. I encouraged them to come back and they said they would. I was questioned by a man whose career was in front of the camera, as he put it – a male porn star. He asked me 5 times if I really believed that Jesus love porn stars. It was like he just couldn’t believe that for himself. Another person said it was just strange “don’t you think?” that Christians would be here and not be condemning people. He said there was a another group of them outside picketing, with signs saying that if you went inside you were a sinner. I told him I thought that was more strange because we are all sinners.
I truly learned from this experience about people and their hearts. Really, we’re all looking for something, for meaning, for value, for comfort and healing. We take different paths to try and find it, but in the end … there is only one thing that will satisfy. If nothing else, seeds were planted, and people were given hope that they are not a lost cause, and that there is a Jesus who loves everyone. Even porn stars.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to partner with you!!! -Desire
8pm – Here are some write ups from those who have helped us at the show. Also, scroll down to see a video from a news piece on the show from the local news in LA.
Hey Craig, Just wanted to say thanks again for the opportunity to volunteer last night. I never thought that handing out bibles could be so much fun. And I honestly have to say that I never thought I would be able to hang out at a porn convention, and talk to people about coming to church, it is truly amazing where GOD can bring you. My prayers will be with you on your upcoming Vegas plans, Thanks again, Take care, Trish
It was great meeting you today at the convention.
I am still processing my experience volunteering today. While I was there, I didn’t have time to really think about what I was witnessing, there were so many people and they were all so willing to take a bible, I didn’t want to miss anyone. It felt frantic.
I didn’t have too many meaningful conversations, however, I did have a chance to look a porn star in her eyes and tell her that she is beautiful. I handed her a bible, she read on the outside, “Jesus Loves Pornstars,” and then I said, “He really does.” She smiled shyly and walked away with her new bible. I pray that she reads it and hears the TRUTH of Jesus Christ.
When I left the convention I felt a heaviness on my heart, I still feel it. Today’s event has made this industry much more real to me. The perversion is daunting. I feel much like I did when I first arrived in India back in October, culture shocked, powerless, and confused.
God has put this industry on my heart and for now, I will keep praying as to what He wants me to do or not do. You have my full support in your ministry. It would be nice if one day we (Ecclesia) could partner with you in the future.
Thank you for this God inspired approach to reach into the depths of this dark, dark world.
Break a leg at Oasis tomorrow! -Erin
Hi Craig! How do I begin to describe the wonderful feeling I have this morning….the day after the porn convention. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “I’m just not that girl” when it comes to doing things for God, and He just keeps removing that statement from my life over and over again. Had you told me a month ago I would have been handing out bibles at a porn convention, loving on people and witnessing to them, I would have laughed you right out of church. This opportunity you presented to us has encouraged me to go to the next level in my faith with complete confidence that my Father will guide my footsteps and my words for the purpose of His kingdom. God is so good!!!
Thanks again Craig. Looking forward to my next porn convention. -Marguerite
How can I start this reflection email other than exclaiming, “Wow!” I really thought I would be relatively undisturbed passing out Bibles and talking to people who have, shall we say, different preferences or hobbies than myself. But truthfully this experience affected me to the core. It is one thing to imagine being at a porn expo as a Believer whose heart has been captured by the pure and lovely things of Jesus, but it is another thing to actually be there when everywhere your eyes fall there are video monitors showing (mostly women) doing sexually explicit, degrading (and in my opinion, disgusting) acts.
Imagery is powerful, and I saw its power in a deeper way as I volunteered at the xxxchurch.com booth. Some of these images shown on the video monitors will probably never leave my mind -and I wasn’t even wanting or trying to see them. My eyes literally processed what it was and quickly turned away and yet it seems like it they will be imprinted in my mind’s eye forever. One man who was given a Bible, opened the cover and said, “What no pictures? Man, that’s cold!” To me, this is a poignant comment that is demonstrative of how sensate our culture is and has become. People do not read as much for entertainment. Much more prolific is the medium of TV and videos. I asked myself, “What are the chances that that man is going to read anything? Let alone a Bible?” And secondly I asked myself, “How can the church reach a sensate-driven culture?” Maybe we do need pictures in our NLTs and NKJVs.
As I stood back looking at the industry players and enthusiasts in action, asking God how my country and my city evolved into embracing porn to the point where it is considered cool and mainstream, He reminded me of the church in Corinth, and that things have really not changed that much. One of the only differences between the licentious Corinthians and the depravity exhibited at Erotica is that the video monitors replace what I would likely have seen in pagan temples. Or, behind the doors of Corinthian Christians, whom Paul was actually addressing in his letters. God reminded me how Paul dealt with sexual sin in the church in Corinth…Paul said, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3. 16)? God (through Paul) reminded them of who they really were first, not focusing on what they did, but reminded them that they were dearly loved, purchased with the most precious sacrifice, and that they were crafted for a purpose.
And for me, that is what this Expo was all about. Of course, I was there to tell those who may not have ever heard about Jesus’ love. But I was also there to remind those who may already know the truth (Christians), whether through a conversation or a smile, of what they may have forgotten or never really knew. I met a couple Christians from our church and other well-known SoCal churches who taught me just that. How I longed for their shame, condemnation and embarrassment about being at this expo to melt under the radical grace and love of our Savior as I was talking with them. What did I do? I gave them a Bible and wished them a great night. -Lauren
1pm – The show started at 11am this morning. There was a line about 500 people deep waiting to get in. Board member Rob Supan flew in this morning and joined the crew. Some great volunteers from Oasis Church were rocking it on the show floor. Great conversations are happening and many Bibles are going out. We may run out today if the pace keeps up.
And reluctantly we must report there are a couple Christian protester out front. Check out a photo here. The guy is pretty old and should be inside chilling watching Nascar or TNN. It simply makes zero sense to protest, people just laugh. I am sure he is well intentioned…we hope to talk to him later today, when he is not yelling.
If you have a moment please pray for everyone at the show and for the team. Thanks so much and stay tuned tonight for another update.
A great first day at the show. You can check out the pictures on flickr. We have a number of volunteers with us at the show and as they share their thoughts on the show we will post them. Here is a little bit from Harmony
Regarding my experience on Friday, it was so great to see the sort of rapport you have developed at the convention. So many of the people we spoke to remembered you from years prior and even said “I still have the yellow bible you guys gave me” or “I got the pink t-shirt last time you were here”. It is great to see that the work that you are doing has left such a positive impression on people and I just know that God is working through that.
At one of the booths, a man straight up asked, “Tell us the truth, are we going to hell for doing this?”
What could have so easily turned into a religious debate was quickly turned into an opportunity to share God’s grace and unconditional love. Your volunteer seized the opportunity to share with the man and the woman he was with about the significance of a personal relationship with God and that none of us are qualified to make judgments about anyone else because no matter what form it takes, we all have junk. At the end of the encounter, the smiles on the faces of the initially defensive man and woman said it all.
At another booth, we made a connection with a precious young woman, who, despite a line of fans waiting to talk to her, eagerly spent some time talking about the gifts and t-shirt we gave her. When she read the caption, “Jesus loves porn stars”, she turned to face her fans and called out…”See…Jesus loves porn stars!” Then she turned to us and said, “I know He does because He talks to me.” Just as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she second guessed herself, hung her head and quietly said to us, “Just kidding”. To which we responded that Jesus does want to talk to her. Before we walked away, she gave me a hug and held me like she didn’t want to let go. I hope and pray that through our interaction with her, she felt the true and abundant love her Heavenly Father has for her.
Those are just a couple moments that really impacted me. Thanks again and I really look forward to doing this again with you all in the future! -Harmony
We are going back to LA after a one year break. We are excited as
ever to get back to the west coast. It will be the two year anniversey
of the debut of the Jesus Loves Porn Bibles as they came out at LA
Erotica 2006. We are in need of 3500 Bibles for this show. LA here we
We have a great team in place for the show. Harmony Dust from Treasures will be joining us along with some of her team. Rachel Collins is back
as well loaded up with over 150 Jesus Loves Porn Stars shirts to hand
out to the gals. Two board members of XXXchurch, Rob Supan and Jake
Larson are making their first trips to the show. We also have over 10
volunteers from Oasis Church in Los Angeles helping us out. Brandon and I will be making the trip from Grand Rapids to meet up wtih everyone else.
Donny and I did a porn and pancakes out there in February and they
were stoked to help out at the show. In addition to helping us out at
the show, I will be speaking at all their weekend services and we are
going to be handing out invitations at the show for the services at Oasis
After the show, the whole xxxchurch staff plus a board member head out
to the desert for a field trip. More on that later and more updates
later in the week.